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. Iran advises UN 'restraint' over nuclear sanctions
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 26 (AFP) Jan 26, 2008
Iran called Saturday on the UN Security Council to "exercise restraint" when reviewing a package of marginally tougher sanctions next week over Tehran's contested nuclear programme.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran could "not understand" why the new measures were being proposed before the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, makes its report on Tehran's nuclear activities in March.

The package was agreed by foreign ministers of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.

"We advise them to exercise restraint ... until the final report of the IAEA comes out," Mottaki told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"The shared objective is the clarification of the ambiguities that have been insinuated by some parties and answering questions raised by the IAEA," he added.

Despite a four-year probe into Tehran's atomic drive, the IAEA has so far been unable to determine whether the programme is peaceful.

On January 13, the UN watchdog announced that Iran had agreed to clear up remaining questions on its nuclear programme -- including any military activity -- in four weeks.

The United States said the agreement did not go far enough, insisting the Islamic republic suspend uranium enrichment immediately.

Enriched uranium is used to make both nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons and the West has always insisted that Iran suspend enrichment to prove to the international community that its nuclear programme is peaceful.

Iran insists that it has an inalienable right to develop nuclear power for a growing population with increasing energy needs and adamantly refuses to suspend enrichment, in defiance of existing UN Security Council resolutions.

The Security Council will review the new package of sanctions on Monday. Diplomats said approval was likely to take several weeks.

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